It may be August 25 in the Philippines, but at the start of today's playoff games, it was still August 24 inside the NBA bubble. And for Mamba Day, NBA teams — Lakers and non-Lakers alike — came out in full force to honor Kobe Bryant.
The entire Lakers team, as promised, played their Blazers matchup today in full "Black Mamba" jerseys: all-black versions of their uniforms, with a special #2 heart patch to honor Gianna Bryant.
But even off the hardcourt, the tunnel walks (or hotel corridor walks, as it were) were full of #8 jerseys. Check out LeBron James and Russell Westbrook below.
Rookie Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat rocked this so-bad-it’s-good tee.
These “Kobe vs. MJ” shirts were also a hot ticket item in today’s tunnel walks. We spotted them on OKC’s Darius Bazley, the Rockets’ PJ Tucker, and the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma.
Don’t read too much into that, they’re not stirring the pot here. ESPN’s Nick De Paula tweets that these are commemorative shirts from 1998; most likely reprints, as one commenter mentioned.
Kobe, one of the greatest basketball players of this generation, passed away in a tragic helicopter accident last January 26, together with his daughter Gianna. The hoops icon wore the numbers 8 and 24 throughout his career, which is why the date is celebrated as Mamba Day.
Oh, but the Pacers don’t want you to forget: 8/24 is also Reggie Miller’s birthday.